The Moral Status of Business Bluffing

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M MUKHWANE
21357684
WVES 221
The moral status of business bluffing is a controversial issue. On the one hand, bluffing would seem to be relevantly similar to lying and deception. Because of this, business bluffing can be taken to be an activity that is at least prima facie morally condemnable. On the other hand, it has often been claimed that in business bluffing is part of the game and that therefore there is nothing morally questionable in business bluffing (Allhoff,2006). An attitude of extreme arrogance permeates the business world today. In the wake of the post-modern discretion of most independent standards of moral behaviour, capitalists the world over are relatively free to worship at the hollow idol of the Market, unhindered by the ethical standards that inform the rest of society. In South Africa this estrangement from the moral has, in one instance, resulted in the mass reduction of permanent positions available to workers in favour of unstable short-term contracts or, what anti-corporate globalisation activists refer to as, McJobs. By ignoring the deep psychological effects that this sort of insecure existence has on employees, the business world has shown itself to be arrogant and indifferent to the ethical standards of the society "outside" of itself. It is often argued whether business bluffing is ethical or not. Defining business bluffing

According to Encarta World English Dictionary bluffing means to deceive, mislead, or instill fear or doubt in somebody by a false show of strength or confidence and business means commercial activity involving the exchange of money for goods or services. Having to incorporate the two definitions one can define business bluffing as misleading within the boundaries of business. The moral status of business bluffing is a controversial issue. On the one hand, bluffing would seem to be relevantly similar to lying and deception. Because of this, business bluffing can be taken to be an activity that is at least prima facie morally condemnable. On the other hand, it has often been claimed that in business bluffing is part of the game and that therefore there is nothing morally questionable in business bluffing

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 Abstract
Carr gives the example of a Cornell honour graduate who, in a psychological test, has to indicate which publications he reads regularly. The graduate, however, is concerned that by indicating the actual "progressive" publications he reads he will be considered as a radical and, thus, put himself at a disadvantage. He finally chooses to lie and selects several conservative publications which he thinks will be more in sync with the policies of his employers – his hunch turns out to be right, and he gets the job. According to Carr, the graduate has made a game player’s decision which is consistent with business ethics. A recent film also provides another example of this sort of dilemma. In Jerry Maguire, Cuba Gooding, Jr. plays a football player approaching retirement, and Tom Cruise plays his sports agent. Throughout his football career Gooding’s character has always played the game to the best of his ability and is regularly featured on the scoring list. However, his on-field ability has never been reflected in monetary terms, as the contracts he signs with the football teams inevitably see him earn less than more popular and less skilled players. His agent advises him that his problem is not with his skill level but rather with the fact that he doesn’t entertain the crowd, as other players do, when he scores a touchdown. This causes him to be unpopular with crowds as he appears to be arrogant which subsequently is reflected negatively on his pay-slips. The solution, Cruise tells him, is to forget about his pride and do a touchdown dance like all the other players. In the films climatic ending Gooding’s character scores the game-winning touchdown but is subsequently knocked unconscious. The crowd cheers for him, and when he eventually awakes, ball still...
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